El Jefe Magnifico

by Kevin on May 7, 2014

Some people seem to have an internal compass. They never get turned around and can tell you which way is east while inside a big hospital. (Does anyone else get weirded out in a hospital like you are a rat in a maze trying to either find the cheese or find the exit door?) Well, I have an internal compass that works about like these new fangled GPS systems. It works a lot of the time, but usually gets me where I need to be about twice as long as it should.

I got turned around gathering cattle one time in a pasture that I had never been in before. The sun was straight overhead and gave me no clue as to my heading, but seemed to mock me as it halted its directional knowledge in high-noon stillness. To be lost or turned around is a sinking feeling, especially when you come upon a fence that shouldn’t be there by your GPS calculations. Unfortunately, there is no voice inside that yells, “RECALCULATING!” and guides you back on course.

I knew I was lost and I had two choices that I could see: Turn right or turn left. There would be no catching up; not with cattle. I finally just shrugged my shoulders and chose right. The reason I did this is because my gut told me to turn left and I figured I was wrong to begin with. But then again, maybe I was wrong to think that I was wrong and maybe it was my second guessing my gut in the first place that had me so confused.

Come on, admit it! I’m not the only screwed up person that will over analyze a simple decision that could probably better served by the flipping of a coin than the knotting of the nerves.

So I turned right and came later upon my starting place. There was the truck and trailer parked right next to the windmill where all the cowboys had unloaded and started the circle. This was good news and bad news. It was good news because since this was a rotational grazing outfit, I knew where to take the cattle. It was a big pasture and I knew the next pasture over was where they were supposed to go and a gate was close by.

I took my seven head to the gate and pushed them through. I then long trotted back to the truck and trailer to wait on the other cowboys.

I was sitting there when out of the brush came the new ranch manager. I guess I forgot to tell you that part. This was the very first day our new manager was riding with us and I had got turned around and lost. Talk about making an impression! I sure made one, but it sure wasn’t the one that I had wanted to.

I would rather not revisit the words said that day, but in a nutshell he told me that because of my incompetence, the whole crew was going to have to go through the pasture again because we were seven head short. I informed him that, although I had gotten lost, I was lost with cattle and that they were indeed where they needed to be.

For some reason, he wasn’t impressed with the skinny cowboy and the skinny cowboy was not impressed with the new jefe either.

Fast forward to the next day, and although I could go on and on about the tension between me and El Jefe Estupido, I will “cut to the chase”…literally.

We gathered for about two hours and counted the cattle through the gate and had everyone of them…except for El Jefe Magnifico del Nowheretobefoundo. We waited about half an hour and then spread back out across the pasture to look for him. I prayed that I would find him at the truck, but that did not get answered…it was even better.

We made it back to the truck and so we loaded up and decided to drive around and look for him. We drove two hours through a big South Texas pasture, and finally came across him. He was riding away from us at a trot and seeing as how we were downwind of him, he didn’t hear us.

He was standing up in his stirrups and looking all around. He zigged and zagged all the while his head swiveled everywhere except behind him. We sat there and watched him for quite some time, and then finally decided to save him. Not because of our generosity, but mainly because it was lunch time and we were hungry.

When we pulled up, you could see him bristle. Mainly because of my tiny little smirky smile. He loaded his horse in the trailer and then waited for the cowboy in the front passenger seat to give up his spot and move to the back seat where us lowly hands belonged.

When we headed for headquarters, he asked if we had moved all the cattle and Antonio replied with a simple, “Si”. We sat there in silence until finally he said that he had decided to let us move the cattle and he wanted to ride through the pasture so he could look at the forage conditions of the pasture.

It was then that Antonio nodded his head, looked in the rearview mirror at me and said in spanish, “Not too worry boss. Every cowboy on this ranch checks the grass every once in a while. But you don’t have to go look for the good ones.”

Everyone makes mistakes and will check the grass every once in a while. There is no Christian that hasn’t taken a wrong turn before. Instead of being like El Jefe Supero del Dumb***, (Author’s note: In a truly ironic fashion, I attempted to combine two words together in hopes of bringing the story back around to the beginning and, although it would have worked out brilliantly, I decided not to actually print the word that occurs when combining the word “dumb” and the last three letter of “compass”.)

Like I was saying, instead of being condescending, a true cowboy will offer encouragement when a mistake is made.

Job 16:4–5 (NLT)
I could say the same things if you were in my place.
I could spout off criticism and shake my head at you.
But if it were me, I would encourage you.
I would try to take away your grief.

Print Friendly

  • William Hubble

    That’s the truth Kev!!

  • well said, Kevin. GPS’s are funny things, both internally and externally. We rented one in Colorado one time that told us to, literally “stay on this road for a while”. At the time we laughed about it, but since I have had time to ponder upon it I think that is what God calls us to do. He doesn’t mention how long…just stay on this road for a while. That road leads to Godly livin’ and encouragement of others.

    • Kevin

      Well said, pard. Well said

  • Paul Weatherby

    It’s the circle of life that we all experience.

  • Diane Carpenter

    I can sympathize with you, Kevin. My internal GPS has been broken for years. I get lost in a parking lot if I am not careful. But, like you said, we all get lost some time. We just need to stop and set our site on Jesus and he will get us back on track.

Previous post:

Next post: